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Chiefs mailbag: Chris Jones impact, over / under wins, Jeremy Maclin is the man

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So I'm away from my family for a couple of days at a child protection training (yes, it's the worst and makes me want to fall off the planet. This world, man... ugh). With a bit of spare time on my hands, let's mailbag.

Remember, you can send questions to @RealMNchiefsfan. Send them all!

Let me answer this question by making a pretty generalized statement... nothing at OTAs means anything.

I could give a bunch of examples right now of players who tore OTAs apart,, only to do absolutely nothing once the the regular season (or in some cases, even preseason) games began. Probably the most famous recent example would be Jon Baldwin. Remember how he was destroying worlds at OTAs and was going to become the true No. 1 receiver the Chiefs had needed for years?

I sure do. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I thought Baldwin was about to become a poor man's Calvin Johnson. Maybe even a middle class man's Calvin Johnson (does that mean he'd be exactly like Calvin Johnson? I have no idea. The analogy fell apart).

Then actual games began with, like, press coverage and stuff. And Baldwin vanished like Chris Chambers in the second year of a contract.

He's just the most obvious example, but it happens all the time. Player X gets buzz, gets some snaps with the starters (gasp!) and we all freak out. Then (usually) nothing comes from it). The opposite occurs too. It's not like last offseason during OTA's we heard all about how Jeremy Maclin was destroying worlds on a daily basis. Instead, we heard about a series of no-name WR's. Then games started and it turns out Maclin is really, really, really, really good at football.

Basically, the moral of the story is that what happens at OTAs is only considered important because we're starved for any news whatsoever. It has no predictive value for who will do what. Preseason games are much better for that (and even then, it doesn't mean much), but we won't really know what the score is until the season starts.

So no, I'm not worried that no one WR has seized the spot opposite Maclin yet. I actually think between Wilson (year three version), Streater, and Conley (year two version), someone will step in and be better than what the Chiefs had last year.

Man, that one is easy. The wildcat fake reverse WR-to-QB deep ball. Never forget Bradley to Thigpen.

The Chiefs still have Jamaal Charles to freak teams out at wildcat. They still have a very athletic quarterback in Alex Smith (though let's be real, he's no Thigpen. Thigpen could RUN, man. For like, five minutes I thought they might have something there).

And most importantly, you will never convince me that Jeremy Maclin isn't awesome at throwing a football.  Can I prove that? No, I can't. But I just know he is. OR, if you want, have Kelce be the reversing guy. He played some quarterback. OR have Eric Berry do it. Because why not?????

That would be my choice for sure.

Man, that whole situation was a bummer. I like animals a lot, and gorillas in particular are pretty cool. Throw that in with the fact that it's an endangered species and that just bites.

That said, here are my basic thoughts on the issues people debated, in order of the way things went down...

1) The kid getting into the enclosure

I put this way more at the zoo's feet than I do the parents'. I really do. I've got five kids, and I can tell you firsthand that kids with a certain personality can just VANISH in about two seconds. Anyone who has that type of kid understands how a child could get away and hop into that moat.

What I DON'T understand is how the zoo could have a setup that allows a kid that age to be CAPABLE of hopping into a freaking gorilla moat. I mean... how does that happen? How does not one guy say at the design meeting, "You know, guys, that's really easy for a small human to get through. And children are small humans who are dumb enough to actually try. We ought to raise that wall a bit, no?" That is inexcusable.

2) The decision to shoot the gorilla

No other option. Just none. Yes, there's a chance that the gorilla was legit just trying to protect the kid. I understand that. But when you watch the video, you see that even if the gorilla isn't TRYING to hurt the kid, it's still likely to happen. When you've got an animal that strong, one careless move on its part is going to end up with a broken or dead child.

From everything I've read, it's impossible to sedate an animal that size quickly enough to guarantee the kid's safety. Imagine you're a gorilla. You're playing with this weird little thing that fell into your territory. Suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your neck. Your instinct? Chuck the weird little thing, thinking it somehow stuck you. The kid isn't surviving that.

It was a sucky situation that lead to literally zero options outside of shooting and killing the gorilla. Which really stinks, because the animal didn't do anything wrong. But it is what it is. Hopefully every zoo on the planet sees what happened here and does everything possible to make sure nothing like this could ever happen again.

The correct answer is to tell you that I just don't know. Rookie defensive linemen often have some catching up to do when dealing with WAY better offensive linemen than they faced in college. Jones also has the tough task of taking snaps (outside of spelling guys) away from Dontari Poe, Allen Bailey, and Jaye Howard. Any one of those guys start on the vast majority of NFL teams. It's a tall order taking snaps from any of them.

That said, Jones has physical skills that are off the charts. His strength is utterly rare. Any question people had about him in college related to his effort and / or motor. On this defense, knowing what he has to prove after falling to the second round? I don't think that'll be an issue.

I mean seriously, how many defensive linemen have you seen do this even once in a game?

When I went back to watch Jones play, he was doing stuff like that multiple times in every game. I saw him actually throw offensive linemen out of his way. Like, actually, legitimately throw them to the side.

You can't teach brute strength like that. Jones is one of the strongest players I've ever watched, and moves well for a big man. I think he'll help the pass rush immediately.

I'd rather give my dishonest opinion, but fair enough.

I think Charles has two great years left after 2016, barring injury. I have no idea whether I'm thinking with my head or my heart here. I'm already sad thinking about it.

The thing with Charles is that his vision and balance will allow him to be a very good RB even after he loses that blazing speed. So he could well be a decent running back for a couple more years after that. But it's hard to imagine him on the field any different than he currently is. So I'm sticking with two years.

Alex Smith? He could play another half dozen years and it wouldn't surprise me. It's a new age for quarterbacks, and he'll be fine. Now, as he loses some of his athleticism that could hurt him, as his legs are definitely a big part of what he does. But I could see him playing at the exact same level at 35-36 years old, no question.

I think Tyler Bray wins the backup QB competition. He's managed to work his way into QB2 status during OTA's (though, see question 1 above for how much that really means), and I think Reid might be able to coach up the mental side of the game enough to harness Bray's immense arm talent.

But none of them would necessarily surprise me, including Hogan. To be fair, I've only watched 2 of Hogan's games and from everything I've been told they were literally his ONLY good games (USC and... crap, I can't remember the other. But he was awesome in both), so my perspective on Hogan is skewed.

As of right now, though, I think the Tyler Bray project is finally starting to pay off.

Ah, a Game of Thrones question. Spoiler alerts!

(also, on a side note, I no longer watch GoT, but I do keep up on what's happening. Long story that I won't bore you with)

I think Martin, for all the posturing and his attempt at avoiding genre stereotypes, will have no choice but to end things on a semi-positive note. I say Jon Snow is going to carry the day. Someone postulated an interesting theory that the reason it's taking Martin so long to write the last 2 books is that he's written himself to a place where things need to get better for the story to work. He doesn't want to do it, so he's stalling.

But the idea of someone writing an entire series without bringing closure doesn't make sense. That said, a lot of Martin's point seems to be "the world isn't fair," so with that in mind, my secondary bet is Ramsey Bolton. Man... can you IMAGINE the outcry? Yikes.

But I do think it's all one way or all the other. Either he gives in and has a semi-happy ending, or he goes all out and makes it as horrible as possible (maybe put a hedge bet on the White Walkers killing everyone).

If you're putting the over/under at 10.5, I'm going with the over. Things started to come together last season. I see too much talent on this team to underachieve. Continuity matters, and these guys have been together for awhile now.

I'll say this... I believe this season is their best chance in a long time to really make some noise. Denver no longer has Peyton Manning, Oakland is ascending but hasn't (I don't think) ascended, and San Diego has been a mess for a while now besides Rivers.

[More: Chiefs over / under win total revealed)

A lot hinges on how Justin Houston and Phillip Gaines do health-wise. Houston is obvious. He's the best player on the defense and an utter game changer. If he's able to come back reasonably quickly, the defense will be much better off. With Gaines, the Chiefs NEED to be able to get by at corner. He can play when healthy (his film review is coming soon,  I promise), and him staying healthy would very much help offset the loss of Sean Smith.

I think enough goes right that the Chiefs win 11 games, so I'm gonna go ahead and copy your answer. If enough things break their way, I don't think a 13-3 season is out of the question.

I completely agree. Maclin isn't (I don't think) on that Hopkins / Brown tier of absolute best in the NFL. But he is absolutely on the next tier of elite WR's (you could name about 6-10 in that group, take your pick).

Maclin is very fast, runs great routes at all levels of the field, tracks the ball well, finds holes in zones, and possesses fantastic hands. He is the complete package at wide receiver and can do it all. I'd take him over most receivers in the league.

Let's let Maclin close this mailbag out, shall we?

Mercy.